Freestyle: Living aloha at Burning Man
BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / email@example.com
It’s been a long day, especially since I had a very long night!
After finishing my blog Wednesday night, Aug. 28, it was midnight on the playa — but of course I still needed to explore.
Half a block down the temporary street next to my camp, I visited a jazz club where I heard a man scat-singing, using his voice as an instrument as part of a beautiful, bluesy, broken-hearted song. I made new friends who also admired the performance, and we explored another showroom with vintage dancehall music where people were wildly dancing. (Yes, some of them were naked.)
Paul Oakenfold was DJing, his appearance the subject of widespread excitement and a general agreement that everyone should meet there. He played at a massive sound camp called White Ocean.
I made it out there at about 3 a.m. There was what looked like an arena’s worth of people there, with hundreds, if not thousands, of bikes scattered about and music so loud it shook the ground.
Bottom line, I’m tired!
I slept in and dodged the sun again, but Thursday, Aug. 29, brought with it crew duties for my campmate Desire’e Kealohapauole Smith and I. We’d signed up to clean the 110-person camp’s private lounge and to spiff up the bar for a pau hana party.
So while it was still unfortunately hot, I put on some aloha wear — including pink slippers, despite the caustic dust — and set out for ice.
Even mundane tasks like this can become an adventure: On my way there, a man offered me a popsicle of my choice. And before we could get in line, the greeter informed us that we would have to dance our way in to the counter. (There’s a booming sound system at the ice camp.)
While I was sleeping and listening to music, I could have chosen to join a communal bike ride, attend a TED Talk, work out at a small, equipped gym (no, really) or listen to music at Center Camp.
Hopefully, I will get to do at least one of those things tomorrow. (Hint: music.) But the afternoons are hot and dusty, and I have been having great conversations and learning new things during my friendly encounters near my campsite — and at night, too.
It’s enjoyable just to hang out in the public part of our camp, which has a stage, covered lounge, DJ booth, hula hoops and more. This camp also includes multiple lines for balance walking, including one rigged line that requires a harness because it is about 20 feet off the ground and stretches between “volcanoes” in the camp.
A guy fell from it today, but the harness did its trick.
There’s also always the option of going out into the desert to admire the art. All of the CORE pieces have been burned now, but there’s plenty more to look at.
Elizabeth Kieszkowski is editor of TGIF, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s weekly arts and entertainment section. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter.